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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 12  |  Page : 5982-5987

Malnutrition among community dwelling older adults in a rural block area of South India

1 Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Central University of Kerala, Kasaragod; District Epidemiologist (IDSP), District Medical Office, Alappuzha, India
2 Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Central University of Kerala, Kasaragod, India
3 Department of Community Medicine, Pushpagiri Institute Of Medical Sciences, Thiruvalla, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ragasree Govind
District Epidemiologist (IDSP), National Health Mission, DMO (H), Kottaram Building, G.H Compound, Iron Bridge P.O, Alappuzha - 688011, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_1248_20

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Background: Kerala state has highest proportion of older adults in India. There is paucity of information on burden of malnutrition (under-nutrition) among them in the state. This study aimed to measure prevalence and associated factors of malnutrition among older adults in a rural community of Kerala. Methods: A community based cross-sectional study was conducted in 2018, among randomly selected 245 older persons (age ≥ 60 years) across rural area of Nemom block panchayath in Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala. Nutritional status was determined by Mini Nutritional Assessment tool. Other components of the interviewer-administered questionnaire were Barthel Index, Geriatric Depression Scale-15, socio-demography, morbidity and substance abuse details. Chi Square test and binary logistic regression were done appropriately. Results: Prevalence of malnutrition was 14.3% (95% CI – 9.9% to 18.7%) and 44.1% (95% CI – 37.9% to 50.3%) were at risk of malnutrition. Older-old (70-79 years), oldest-old (≥80 years), unmarried or widowed, those with chewing and swallowing difficulties, those who screened positive for depression and those who had higher grade of dependency in any activities of daily living were more likely to be malnourished (p < 0.05). Older-old age (aOR – 3.358), depression (aOR – 4.859) and higher grade of dependency in activities of daily living (aOR – 2.940) were the attributes independently associated with malnutrition after adjusting for other factors. Conclusions: The older persons in the rural area of Kerala had high burden of malnutrition. Older-old, dependent and depressed individuals are more likely to be affected.

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